Subject: OGT: Timor Sea report causes confusion in East Timor

Thursday, 14 November, 2002

Darwin, 14 November, OGT-An Australian Senate committee's recommendation to link two different oil and gas agreements to one ratification of a petroleum treaty between Australia and East Timor has confused the head of the Timor Sea Office.

The ABC reports that Jonathan Morrow, an Australian spokesman for the East Timorese Prime Minister, Mari Alkatiri, said he welcomed the joint standing committee's recommendation to ratify the Timor Sea Treaty.

However, Morrow says the unitisation agreement for the Greater Sunrise oil and gas field in the Timor Sea is completely separate to the Timor Sea Treaty and should remain that way.

He says the Senate committee's recommendation that the treaty should only be ratified following the conclusion of the unitisation agreement is puzzling, the ABC reports.

"We're a little puzzled to be honest with another recommendation in the Joint Standing Committee's report that the unitisation agreement be done before the date of the Timor Sea Treaty ratification," he said.

"We see no real connection between these two important documents. However, we remain committed to both."

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